UK braces for a backlash from EU ahead of the Brexit

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National and international highlights

U.K. braces for backlash ahead of tomorrow’s Brexit notice

British Prime Minister Theresa May will formally initiate the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union on Wednesday, and that has her administration concerned that the divorce could get messy, Bloomberg writer Tim Ross reports.

May is preparing to invoke Article 50 — the legal exit mechanism from the EU — which will herald talks lasting as long as two years, during which time Britain wants to settle its divorce agreement and negotiate a comprehensive new free-trade pact with the EU.

Below is a quick refresher (released ahead of last June’s referendum) from Bloomberg about what’s at stake in the Brexit.

The U.K. is hoping to maintain access to the European common market, while restricting the flow of people from the continent. But EU officials have balked at that, suggesting that withdrawal from the bloc means losing access to the free trade zone as well.

Grammarians take notice — the singular ‘they’ is in

The venerable Associated Press Stylebook — also known as the journalist’s bible — has added an entry for “they” as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in its latest edition, The Washington Post’s Travis Andrew’s reports.

“We stress that it’s usually possible to write around that,” Paula Froke, lead editor for the Associated Press Stylebook, said in a blog post on the American Copy Editors Society’s website. “But we offer new advice for two reasons: recognition that the spoken language uses they as singular and we also recognize the need for a pronoun for people who don’t identify as a he or a she.”

Ben Zimmer, a Wall Street Journal columnist who presided over the vote, told The Post the selection acknowledged something commonly used in the English language while “also playing into emerging ideas about gender identity.”

Trump son-in-law to testify before Senate committee over his contacts with Russians

A Senate committee investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election wants to interview Jared Kushner, 36, who is married to President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump to question him about his contacts with Russian officials, Reuters reports.

Kushner had previously acknowledged meeting the Russian ambassador to Washington last December, but on Monday it emerged that he met with executives of a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions for Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Local highlights

Long Creek youth prison superintendent resigns

Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed to the BDN Monday evening that the superintendent of Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland has resigned.

Superintendent Jeff Merrill II submitted his resignation from the youth prison citing “personal reasons,” over the weekend, Fitzpatrick said.

The news comes less than a week after Merrill was placed on administrative leave. At the time, Fitzpatrick declined to say why Merrill was taken off the job, citing an “active investigation.”

“The investigation is stopped at this point,” Fitzpatrick said Monday. He declined to elaborate.

Maine’s university system braces for deep cuts to federal funding

President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash the budgets for several federal agencies to increase military spending has Maine’s public university system on edge as it prepares for potentially reduced federal support, the BDN’s Nick McCrea reports.

“We have been studying it,” James Page, chancellor of the University of Maine System, said Monday while addressing the UMS board of trustees. “Its impact on higher ed is extraordinary.”

Among the possible cuts that could hit the university system include the end of the Sea Grant program, plans to strip money from the Pell Grant surplus, reduced funding for federal work studies, as well as the elimination of the national endowments for arts and humanities.

Your weather update for Tuesday, March 27, 2017

Today’s temperatures will be an improvement over Monday, with a high of 42 degrees in Greater Bangor, 43 degrees in Portland and 36 in Caribou, according to the National Weather Service office in Gray.

Isolated showers will continue throughout the day, but by tomorrow the sun starts to emerge.